David Duke’s introductory preface: I published this article for our readers years ago. Allan Brownfeld dares to reveal the anti-Gentilism (a term that should be as valid as the term “anti-Semitism”) that exists in Judaic scripture and literature. Ironically, those who simply expose elements of Jewish supremacism, racism and anti-Gentile hatred are themselves today called haters. As Brownfeld shows, not only do few Gentiles even know of the hatred that exists against them, but the Jewish community, instead of trying to ameliorate these supremacist sentiments, pretends that they don’t exist–and they do their best to keep Gentiles ignorant of it.
The Jewish-dominated mass media does not even discuss the hateful Jewish supremacist views of the Chabad, a worldwide Jewish organization with intimate relationships with almost every Western government leader. (They even have teach-ins in the American White House). Chabad is a Jewish organization that teaches that the only purpose of satanic Gentiles is that they “serve Jews.” Brownfeld’s facts can all be easily verified, so why is there hardly any criticism of Jewish Supremacism in the press? Davidduke.com is once again a place where people can find the truth about important issues suppressed by the controlled media. The fact that Jared Kushner and Ivanka run the White House and are supporters of the extreme Jewish hate organization called Chabad Lubavitch — is never mentioned in the Jewish controlled mass media–shows the deception and depravity in the Deep Zionist Media and Political State in the USA!
Alan Brownfeld — It Is Time to Confront the Exclusionary Ethnocentrism in Jewish Sacred Literature
For many years, Jewish organizations have been in the forefront of urging Christian churches to remove from their sacred literature those elements which have helped to produce religious intolerance, in particular anti-Semitism. The Christian world has, in large measure, responded to these calls and major revisions have been undertaken, and apologies have been made for the narrow teachings of the past which led to widespread persecutions. It is now time for Jewish religious bodies to carefully review the narrow and exclusionary ethnocentrism to be found in Jewish sacred literature and remove those elements which encourage contempt for and exclusion of those who are not Jewish.
In the case of the churches, the rejection of the objectionable teachings of the past has been dramatic.
Confronting the Past
In his book Faith or Fear, Elliott Abrams, president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, writes that, “Christians are confronting Christianity’s past—a reexamination of Christian teaching about Jews that, in the words of Leonard Dinerstein, is `one of the most far-reaching breakthroughs, and one with potential for enormous change in Christian beliefs and behavior.’ Since the Second Vatican Council began to reevaluate Christian teachings about Jews and Judaism in 1965, the changes have been revolutionary.”
Rabbi James Rudin, director of interreligious affairs at the American Jewish Committee, summed up the changes: “Theologically, we’ve resolved everything with the Catholics.”
The 1965 declaration Nostra Aetate stressed the church’s origins in and close relationship to Judaism. It stated that “the Jews remain very dear to God,” abandoning the Church Fathers’ ancient view that they had been rejected by Him. Indeed, Nostra Aetate stated that Jews continue to have their own special relationship to God. It also clearly rejected the charge of of deicide, and as clearly condemned anti-Semitism.
In 1985, the Vatican Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews produced Notes on the Correct Way to Present Jews and Judaism in Preaching and Catechesis in the Roman Catholic Church. Here the church took up the anti-Judaic language in some of the Gospels. Matthew 27:25, for example, has the Jews saying, “His blood be on us and our children.” The Notes stated that the Gospels were “the outcome of long and complicated editorial work. Hence it cannot be ruled out that some references hostile or less than favorable to the Jews have their historical context in conflicts between the nascent church and the Jewish community. Certain controversies reflect Jewish-Christian relations long after the time of Christ.” Thus, the hostility to Jews was demoted from “Gospel truth” and put in its historical context.
The Notes reflected the views of Pope John Paul II on the subject of Judaism and he has been a key source and motivator of the Catholic rethinking. The covenant between God and the Jews, he said in the Mainz, Germany synagogue in 1980 “has never been revoked.” The new catechism of the Catholic Church reflects this understanding when it states: “The Jewish faith, unlike other non-Christian religions, is already a response to God’s revelation in the Old Covenant.”
In the Rome Synagogue in 1986, the Pope declared: “With Judaism…we have a relationship we do not have with any other religion. You are our dearly beloved brothers and, in a certain way, it could be said that you are our elder brothers. It is not lawful to say that the Jews are repudiated or cursed for the Jews are beloved of God, who called them with an irrevocable calling.”
In the U.S., the National Conference of Catholic Bishops have implemented these view. One example is a recent comparison of the 1970 and 1986 versions of title headings for the study of Romans 9-11 in the New American Bible, the version which is widely used in Catholic schools. The 1970 version had a section called “Israel’s Present Rejection,” but the new heading for that section is “Jews and Gentiles in God’s Plan.” “Grief for the Jews” is replaced by “Paul’s Love For Israel.” “Israel’s Unbelief” has become “Righteousness Based On Faith” and “Parial Rejection of Israel” is now “The Remnant of Israel.”
Similar changes have taken place in most Protestant denominations.
In 1950, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Germany called on all Christian churches to resist anti-Semitism and declared that, “God’s promise is valid for his Chosen People, even after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.” This was a rejection of the older Christian view of Judaism as a “dead” religion and an affirmation of its continuing relationship with God.
In the U.S., the General Conference of the United Methodist Church in 1972 issued a “Statement on Inter-Religious Dialogue: Jews and Christians,” and asserted that Jews were still a “covenanted people.” It went on to say that, “The heritage and hopes of a religious Israel in the context of which Jesus labored have continued to live in the Jewish faith and people…The persecution by Christians of Jews throughout centuries calls for clear repentance and resolve to repudiate past injustice and to seek its elimination in the present.”
The General Convention of the American Lutheran Church in 1974 dealt specifically with the anti-Jewish writings of Martin Luther: “American Lutherans are the heirs of a long history of prejudicial discrimination against Jews…
Lutherans bear a special responsibility for this tragic history of persecution, because the Nazi movement found a climate of hatred already in existence…That the Nazi period fostered a revival of Luther’s own medieval hostility toward Jews…is a special cause of regret. Those who study and admire Luther should acknowledge unequivocally that his anti-Jewish writings are beyond any defense.”
Dr. Franklin Sherman, director of the Institute for Jewish-Christian Understanding at the Lutheran Church-related Muhlenberg College, said: “Lutherans understand the depth of this matter—that the `teaching of contempt’ is not just one mistake among others, but in the whole history of Christianity is the darkest stain upon the Christian faith and the Christian community.”
The United Church of Christ, in 1987 and 1990, issued statements about Jews and about Christian anti-Semitism. In 1987, the 16th General Synod adopted a resolution on “The Relationship Between United Church of Christ and the Jewish Community,” which said, in part, “…Faced with this history from which we as Christians cannot, and must not, dissociate ourselves, we ask God’s forgiveness through out Lord Jesus Christ. We pray for divine grace that will enable us, more firmly than ever before, to turn from this path of rejection and persecution to affirm that Judaism has not been superseded by Christianity; that Christianity is not to be understood as the successor religion to Judaism; God’s covenant with the Jewish people has not been abrogated. God has not rejected the Jewish people; God is faithful in keeping covenant.”
The Presbyterian Church issued a document called “A Theological Understanding of the Relationship Between Christians and Jews,” approved by its 199th General Assembly in 1987. It stated: “We must be willing to admit our church’s complicity in wrongdoing in the past, even as we try to establish a new basis of trust and communication with Jews. We pledge, God helping us, never again to participate in, or to contribute to, or to allow the persecution or denigration of Jews or the belittling of Judaism…The long and dolorous history of Christian imperialism, in which the church has often justified anti-Jewish acts and attitudes in the name of Jesus, finds its theological basis in this teaching (super-sessionism). We believe and testify that this teaching of super-sessionism is harmful and in need of reconsideration…For us, the teaching that the church has been engrafted by God’s grace into the people of God finds as much support in Scripture as super-sessionism, and is much more consistent with our Reformed understanding of the work of God in Jesus Christ… God`s covenants are not broken…The church has not `replaced’ the Jewish people.”
Elliot Abrams writes that, “The immense changes in Christian attitudes toward Jews and Judaism have been amazingly underreported and under-appreciated in the American Jewish community. In most Christian denominations, a two-thousand-year-old war against Judaism has been called off and its direct connection to anti-Semitic violence admitted. Contemptuous and hostile attitudes toward Judaism that date back to the years immediately after Jesus’ death have been questioned, criticized, rejected. The historic role of Judaism has been appreciated and reaffirmed, and in many cases its ongoing covenant with God has been acknowledged. Efforts to convert Jews to Christianity have been questioned in some churches and brought under strict control in others. This is revolutionary…These changes should give rise to new Jewish attitudes toward Christians and toward Christian religiosity.”
No similar Effort
Yet, while Christian churches have sought to excise from its tradition those teachings of the past which led to intolerance, there has not been a similar effort to cleanse Jewish sacred literature of its own hostility to those of other traditions and backgrounds.
In fact, in recent years, there has been dramatic growth of Jewish fundamentalism in Israel which has manifested itself in vigorous opposition to the peace process and has played a key role in the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and the murder of 29 Moslems at prayer by the American-born fundamentalist, Baruch Goldstein.
In an important new book, Jewish Fundamentalism In Israel (Pluto Press), Israel Shahak and Norton Mezvinsy provide a thorough assessment of this phenomenon. Israel Shahak, an Israeli and Holocaust survivor, is a retired professor at the Hebrew University and a leading human rights activist. Norton Mezvinsky is Professor of History at Central Connecticut State University and has written and lectured extensively on the Middle East.
The authors point out that, “…the adherents of Jewish fundamentalism in Israel oppose equality for all citizens, especially non-Jews.” The respected Israeli sociologist Baruch Kimmerling, citing evidence from a study conducted by other scholars, declared: “The values of the (Jewish) religion, at least in its Orthodox and nationalistic form that prevails in Israel, cannot be squared with democratic values. No other variable—neither nationality, nor attitudes about security, nor social or economic values,nor ethnic descent and education—so influences the attitudes of (Israeli) Jews against democratic values as does religiosity.”
What particularly concerns the authors is the total contempt which Jewish fundamentalists show toward non-Jews, and the religious sources they cite in promoting such ideas. Rabbi Kook the Elder, the revered father of the messianic tendency in Jewish fundamentalism, said, “The difference between a Jewish soul and the souls of non-Jews—all of them in all different levels—is greater and deeper than the difference between a human soul and the souls of cattle.”
Rabbi Kook’s entire teaching, which is followed devoutly by, among others, those who have led the settler movement in the occupied West Bank, is based upon the Lurianic Cabbala, the school of Jewish mysticism that dominated Judaism from the late 16th to the early 19th century. “One of the basic tenets of the Lurianic Cabbala, the authors write, “is the absolute superiority of the Jewish soul and body over the non-Jewish soul and body. According to the Lurianic Cabbala, the world was created solely for the sake of Jews: the existence of non-Jews was subsidiary. If an influential Christian bishop or Islamic scholar argued that the difference between the superior souls of non-Jews and the inferior souls of Jews was greater than the difference between the human soul and the souls of cattle, he would incur the wrath of all and be viewed as an anti-Semite by most Jewish scholars regardless of whatever less meaningful, positive statements he included.”
The scholarly authors of books about Jewish mysticism and the Lurianic Cabbala, such as Gershon Scholem, have, the authors charge, “willfully omitted references to such ideas. These authors are supreme hypocrites. They are analogous to many authors of books on Stalin and Stalinism. Until recently, people who read only the books written by Stalinists could not know about Stalin’s crimes and would have false notions of the Stalinist regimes and their real ideologies.”
According to the ideologies which underlie Gush Emunum, the militant West Bank settlers group, and Hasidism, non-Jews have “satanic souls.” “The role of Satan,” the authors note, “whose earthly embodiment according to the Cabbala is every non-Jew, has been minimized or not mentioned by authors who have not written about the Cabbala in Hebrew. Such authors, therefore, have not conveyed to readers accurate accounts of general NRP (National Religious Party) or its hard-core Gush Emunum politics.”
Common to both the Talmud and the Halacha, Orthodox religious law, is a differentiation between Jews and non-Jews. The highly revered Rabbi Menachem Mandel Schneerson, who headed the Chabad movement and wielded great influence in Israel as well as in the U.S., explained that, “The difference between a Jewish and a non- Jewish person stems from the common expression: `Let us differentiate.’ Thus, we do not have a case of profound change in which a person is merely on a superior level. Rather we have a case of `let us differentiate” between totally different species. This is what needs to be said about the body: the body of a Jewish person is of a totally different quality from the body of (members) of all nations of the world…A non-Jew’s entire reality is only vanity. It is written, `And the strangers shall guard and feed your flocks’ (Isaiah 61:5). The entire creation (of a non-Jew) exists only for the sake of the Jews…”
Superiority of Jews
Among the religious settlers in the Occupied Territories, the Chabad Hassids constitute one of the most extreme groups. Baruch Goldstein, the mass murderer of Palestinians, was one of them. Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsburgh, who wrote a chapter of a book in praise of Goldstein and what he did, is another member of this group. An immigrant to Israel from the U.S., Rabbi Ginsburgh speaks freely of Jews’ genetic-based, spiritual superiority over non-Jews. “If you saw two people drowning, a Jew and a non-Jew, the Torah says you save the Jewish life first,” Ginsburgh states. “If every simple cell in a Jewish body entails divinity, is a part of God, then every strand of DNA is part of God. Therefore, something is special about Jewish DNA…If a Jew needs a liver, can you take the liver of an innocent non-Jew passing by to save him? The Torah would probably permit that, Jewish life has an infinite value.”
Shahak and Mezvinsky point out that, “Changing the words `Jewish’ to `German’ or `Aryan’ and `non-Jewish’ to `Jewish’ turns the Ginsburgh position into the doctrine that made Auschwitz possible in the past. To a considerable extent the German Nazi success depended upon that ideology and upon its implications of being widely known early. Disregarding even on a limited scale the potential effects of messianic, Lubavitch and other ideologies could prove to be calamitous…The similarities between the Jewish political messianic trend and German Nazism are glaring. The Gentiles are for the messianists what the Jews were for the Nazis. The hatred of Western culture with its rational and democratic elements is common to both movements…The ideology…is both eschatological and messianic. It resembles in this respect prior Jewish religious doctrines as well as similar trends in Christianity and Islam. This ideology assumes the imminent coming of the Messiah and asserts that the Jews, aided by God, will thereafter triumph over the non-Jews and rule over them forever.”
Not Stealing But Sanctification
Members of Gush Emunum argue that “what appears to be confiscation of Arab-owned land for subsequent settlement by Jews is in reality not an act of stealing but one of sanctification. >From their perspective the land is redeemed by being transferred from the satanic to the divine sphere…the Gush Emunum rabbis assert that this one messianic sect has to handle and lead the ass-like Jews, who have been corrupted by satanic Western culture, with its rationality and democracy and who refuse to renounce their beastly habits and embrace the true faith. To further the process, the use of force is permitted wherever necessary.”
The fundamentalists believe that God gave all of the Land of Israel (including present Lebanon and other areas) to the Jews and that Arabs living in Israel are viewed as thieves. Rabbi Israel Ariel, a fundamentalist leader, published an atlas that designated all lands that were Jewish and needed to be liberated. This included all areas west and south of the Euphrates River extending through present-day Kuwait. Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, another spokesman, said, “We must live in this land even at the price of war. Moreover, even if there is no peace, we must instigate wars of liberation in order to conquer it (the land).”
Mordechai Nisan, a lecturer at the Hebrew University, expressed this view in an official publication of the World Zionist Organization. Relying upon Maimonides, he said that a non-Jew permitted to reside in the land of Israel “must accept paying a tax and suffering the humiliation of servitude.” He said that non-Jews must not be appointed to any office or position of power over Jews.
View of the Non-Jews
When it comes to Maimonides, his view of non-Jews is less than positive, and his view of some racial and ethnic groups is clearly hostile. His Guide To The Perplexed (Book III, Chapter 51) discusses how various sections of humanity can attain the supreme religious value, the true worship of God. Among those who are incapable of even approaching this are: “Some of the Turks (i. e., the Mongol race) and the nomads of the North and the Blacks and nomads in the South, and those who resemble them in our climates. And their nature is like the nature of mute animals, and according to my opinion, they are not on the level of human beings, and their level among existing things is below that of a man and above that of a monkey, because they have the image and the resemblance of a man more than the monkey does.”
In an earlier book, Jewish History, Jewish Religion, Professor Shahak asked, “Now, what does one do with such a passage in a most important and necessary work of Judaism? Face the truth and its consequences? God forbid: Admit, as so many Christian scholars, for example, have done in similar circumstances, that a very important Jewish authority also held rabid anti-Black views, and by this admission make an attempt at self-education in real humanity? Perish the thought…A happy `solution’ was found: in the popular American translation of the Guide…first published as far back as 1925 and since reprinted in many editions, including several in paperback, the Hebrew word Kushim, which means Blacks, was simply transliterated and appears as `Kushites,’ a word which means nothing to those who have no knowledge of Hebrew, or to whom an obliging rabbi will not give an oral explanation. During all these years, not a word has been said to point out the original deception or the social facts underlying its continuation—and this throughout the excitement of Martin Luther King’s campaigns, which were supported by so many rabbis, not to mention other Jewish figures, some of whom must have been unaware of the anti-Black racist attitude which forms part of their Jewish heritage.”
Murder of Palestinians
When it comes to Goldstein’s murder of 29 Palestinians at prayer, fundamentalists refuse to acknowledge that such an act constitutes “murder” because, according to the Halacha, the killing by a Jew of a non-Jew under any circumstances is not regarded as murder. It may be prohibited for other reasons, especially when it causes danger for Jews. When asked if he was sorry about the murdered Arabs, militant Rabbi Moshe Levenger declared: “I am sorry not only about dead Arabs but about dead flies.”
For the fundamentalists, Goldstein became a hero. Military guards transported his coffin to Kiryat Arba through Palestinian villages. Rabbi Dov Lior in a eulogy stated that, “Goldstein was full of love for fellow human beings. He dedicated himself to helping others.”
The problem, Shahak and Mezvinsky point out is that, “The terms `human beings’ and `others’ in the Halacha refer solely to Jews.”
When Orthodox Jews read the Bible, they are reading a very different book with a different meaning from the Bible as read by non-Jews or non-Orthodox Jews. Halacha, the legal system of classical Judaism, is based primarily on the Babylonian Talmud. Over time, the complexity of the legal disputations recorded in the Talmud were made manageable by successive generations of rabbinical scholars. Some of these have acquired great authority and are in general use.
According to the Orthodox view, the murder of a Jew is a capital offense while the murder of a non-Jew is viewed in different terms. In “Laws on Murders” (Maimonides, Mishnet Tora, 2, 11), a Jew who kills a Gentile is guilty only of a sin against “laws of Heaven,” not punishable by a court. To cause the death of a Gentile indirectly is no sin at all.
The Book of Education, a popular Orthodox religious manual which is reprinted in many inexpensive editions subsidized by the Israeli government, was written by an anonymous rabbi in early 14th century Spain. It explains the 613 religious obligations (mitzvot) of Judaism in the order in which they are supposed to be found in the Pentateuch according to Talmudic interpretation. A central aim of this book is to emphasize the “correct” meaning of the Bible with respect to such terms as “fellow,” “friend,” or “man.” Thus #219, devoted to the religious obligation arising from the verse “thou shalt love thy fellow as thyself” is entitled, “A religious obligation to love Jews,” and explains: “To love every Jew strongly means that we should care for a Jew and his money as one cares for oneself and one’s money, for it is written, `thou shalt love thy fellow as thyself’…”
In #322, dealing with the duty to keep a Gentile slave enslaved forever (whereas a Jewish slave must be set free after seven years), the following explanation is given. “And at the root of this religious obligation (is the fact that) the Jewish people are the best of the human species, created to know their Creator and worship Him, and worthy of having slaves to serve them. And if they will not have slaves of other peoples, they would have to enslave their brothers, who would thus be unable to serve the Lord, blessed be He. Therefore we are commanded to possess those for our service, after they are prepared for this and after idolatry is removed from their speech, so that there should not be danger in our houses, and this is the intention of the verse `but over your brethren the children of Israel, ye shall not rule one over another with rigour,’ so that you will not have to enslave your brothers, who are ready to worship God.”
Similar distinctions are made in numerous other passages. In explaining the ban against delaying a worker`s wage (#238) the author is careful to point out that the sin is less serious if the worker is Gentile. The prohibition against cursing (#239) is entitled “Not to curse any Jew, whether man or woman.” Similarly, the prohibition against giving misleading advice, hating other people, shaming them or taking revenge on them (#244, 245, 246, 247) apply only to fellow Jews.
Perhaps the most extreme expression of this differentiation between moral obligations to Jews and non-Jews can be found in the section of the Talmud devoted to saving life. The question is posed: What is a pious Jew to do when he sees a human being drowning in the sea or having fallen into a well? The Talmud response, still accepted by the ultra-Orthodox, is that the answer is dependent upon the category to which the human being belongs. If the person is either a non-Jew or a Jew who is a “shepherd of sheep and goats,” a category that lapsed after Talmudic times, he should neither be saved nor pushed into the sea or well. If, however, the person is a Jewish heretic, he should either be pushed down the well or into the sea or, if the person is already in the well or sea, he should not be rescued. This legal stipulation appears in Tractate Avoda Zara (pp. 26a-b).
Maimonides also explains this stipulation. In Laws of Murder And Preservation of Jewish Life (Chapter 4, rules 10-11), he wrote: “The (Jewish) heretics are those who commit sins on purpose; even one who eats meat not ritually slaughtered or who dresses in a sha’atnez clothes (made of linen and wool woven together) on purpose is called a heretic (as are) those (Jews) who deny the Torah and prophecy. They should be killed. If he (a Jew) has the power to kill them by the sword, he should do so. But if he has not, he should behave so deceitfully to them that death would ensue. How? If he (a Jew) sees one of them who has fallen into a well and there is a ladder into the well, he (should) take it away and say: `I need it to take my son down from the roof,’ or similar things. Deaths of non-Jews with whom we are not at war and Jewish shepherds of sheep and goats and similar people should not be caused, although it is forbidden to save them if they are at the point of death. If, for example, one of them is seen falling into the sea, he should not be rescued. As it is written, `Neither shall you stand against the blood of your fellow’ (Leviticus 19,16) but he (the non-Jew) is not your fellow.”
The verse, “Thou shalt love thy fellow as thyself” (Leviticus 19:13) is understood by classical and present day Orthodox Judaism as an indication to love one’s fellow Jew, not any fellow human being. The generous injunction to leave the gleanings of one’s field and vineyard `for the poor and the stranger’ (Leviticus 9:10) is interpreted as referring exclusively to the Jewish poor and to converts to Judaism.
An important thinker in ultra-Orthodox circles is Judah Halevi, a Jewish poet and philosopher of the 12th century who wrote of history’s selection process in his famous work The Kuzari. “The best known things in it are racist,” declared Elhanan Hach, a professor of Talmud at Hebrew University and the Jerusalem branch of the Jewish Theological Seminary. “He says Abraham was the best of men but he contained in himself some bad elements, and these bad elements came out in the form of Ishmael.” Since Ishmael is today considered a forefather of the Arab nation and the link through which the Arabs trace their origins to Abraham, his manner of treatment in religious sources has contemporary relevance.
To Professor Naeh, Judah Halevi’s 12th century writings reinforce Jewish ethnocentrism. “It’s very dangerous,” said Naeh of the Halevi thesis of the inferiority of Ishmael. “I’m not sure that in his time this theory had a very big influence with Jews, but it has in the last centuries, especially in Eastern Europe…The Gush Emunum people see Halevi as their big prophet. They study each word and they live with his ideas, the chosen people.”
The Kuzari is written as a dialogue between the King of the Khazars, who is searching for a religion, and a rabbi who defends Judaism against the attacks of other faiths. Halevi’s rabbi also denigrates Christianity and Islam, issuing the following denunciations: “…any Gentile who joins us unconditionally shares our good fortune, without, however, being equal to us. If the Law were binding on us only because God created us, the white and the black man would be equal, since He created them all. But the Law was given to us because He led us out of Egypt, and remained attached to us, because we are the pick of mankind.”
Arab as Amalek
In his book Arab and Jew, David K. Shipler, who served as the New York Times correspondent in Israel, writes: “As the 11 and 12-year-old boys in Kiryat Arba explained, they are learning in their yeshivas that the Arab is Amalek, the enemy tribe that God instructed the Jews to fight eternally and destroy: `Amalek was the first of the nations; but his latter end shall be that he perish forever.’ (Numbers 24:20). Hagai Segal, a settler from Ofra, was quoted in the settlers’ paper Nekuda as declaring, `The Torah of Israel has nothing to do with modern humanistic atheism. The Torah yearns for revenge. Such a Torah is not humanistic.’ Expressions of bellicose intolerance are given religious sanction and rationalization, which then filter into some segments of the lay population. Some rabbis, such as Eliezer Waldenberg, winner of the 1976 Israel Prize, declared that Halakha, Jewish law, required a strict separation of Jews from Arabs, preferably an apatheid system,or, better yet, the expulsion of the `goyim,’ all non-Jews, from Jerusalem….Another rabbi writing in the student newspaper at Bar-Ilan University argued that the Torah prescribed genocide against the modern Amalek.”
Although they constitute a relatively small portion of the Israeli population, the political influence of the messianic fundamentalists has been growing. If they have contempt for non-Jews, their hatred for Jews who oppose their views is even greater. This can be seen in the murder of Yitzhak Rabin.
Yigal Amir, Rabin’s assassin, cited the “law of the pursuer” (din rodef) and the “Law of the informer” (din moser). The first law commands every Jew to kill or wound severely any Jew who is perceived as intending to kill another Jew. According to the halachic commentaries, it is not necessary to see such a person pursuing a Jewish victim. It is enough if rabbinic authorities, or even competent scholars, announce that the law of the pursuer applies. The second law commands every Jew to kill or wound severely any Jew who, without a decision of a competent rabbinic authority, has informed non-Jews about Jewish affairs or has given them information about Jewish property or who has delivered Jewish persons or property to their rule or authority.
The Land of Israel has been and still is considered by the ultra-Orthodox as being the exclusive property of the Jews. Granting Palestinians authority over any part of this land could, thus, be interpreted as “informing.” Some rabbis interpreted the relations that developed between Rabin and the Palestinian Authority as causing harm to the Jewish settlers. In this sense, Rabin had “informed” and was deserving of death.
Horrors in Name of Religion
All through history, we have seen great horrors inflicted upon mankind in the name of one or another narrow view of religion and of God’s will. We have witnessed intolerance and accompanying violence from the Crusades to the Inquisition to the religious divisions which at the present time divide people in, among other places, Northern Ireland, Kashmir, the Balkans and Indonesia—it is a long list indeed. In many contemporary societies there are those who advocate a rigid theocracy, as in Iran and Afghanistan, and who persecute those who remain outside of their religious consensus. Religious writings have helped to stir the passions of hatred, as in the Holocaust. Those who embark upon such assaults in the name of God are often the most violent because they view themselves as engaging in a religiously-mandated process of purification.
Jews have, all too often, been the victims of such religious-mandated intolerance. It is a hopeful sign that the major Christian churches have rejected the anti-Semitism which some of them have preached in the past. But it is wrong to think that Jews are simply innocent victims of the bigotry of others. There is, as we have seen, a significant amount of ethnocentric contempt for those who are not Jewish to be found in Jewish sacred literature. It is now time that Judaism be purged of its own intolerant teachings which lead to contempt for and indifference to those of other faiths and backgrounds.
Lord of All Creation
The God of the Prophets was not a God for Jews alone, but the Lord of all creation. Second Isaiah proclaims God as the God of all people. “Look unto Me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth.” In Chapter 56 of the Book of Isaiah we find the famous passage epitomizing universalism: “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.”
The idea of one God for a particular people was not the unique contribution of the Jews. There had been other peoples who had that idea before. It is the idea of one god for all peoples representing a single standard of morality with one set of moral values applying to all peoples—this was the revolution in religious thinking which the Prophets brought about.
The time has come for Judaism to excise those teachings and declarations which preach contempt for the “other”—that portion of God’s creation who are not Jewish.
-Allan C. Brownfeld
Allan C. Brownfeld is a nationally syndicated columnist and serves as Associate Editor of The Lincoln Review and Editor of Issues. The author of five books, he has served on the staff of the U.S. Senate, House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. He is Executive Director of the American Council of Judaism.